Sunday, June 5, 2011

AMADI: Refusing fights won't get Jon Fitch any closer to another UFC Welterweight Title shot

By: Jason Amadi, MMATorch Columnist

To earn his 2008 title fight with Georges St. Pierre, Jon Fitch had to match the UFC record for consecutive wins in the Octagon. After Fitch was badly beaten and generally outclassed by the sport's greatest welterweight at UFC 87, most fans wondered what hoops the UFC would make Fitch jump through to earn a second crack at Georges St. Pierre.

Three years and six fights later, we are really no closer to answering that question. Jon Fitch believes the answer might be refusing to fight guys who aren?t champions or haven't held a championship, but in reality, Jon Fitch without an impressive quantity of victories loses his biggest bargaining chip.

What's most impressive about Jon Fitch is his ability to make all of his opponents look exactly the same. Fitch presses forward, takes his opponents down, and grinds out decisions. Heading into his fight title fight in 2008, most people thought that Jon Fitch would give GSP fits with this grinding style, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. Georges St. Pierre absolutely lathered Fitch for five rounds, and beat Fitch worse than he's ever beaten any fighter during his UFC tenure.

It's hard to imagine how the UFC could sell a rematch of that fight, especially given St. Pierre's recent slump of dull fights, and it isn't as if Jon Fitch has given the UFC much to work with. After the destruction that St. Pierre put on him, Fitch just went back to business as usual and back to the grind. He hasn't shown any new wrinkles to his game, and GSP hasn't proven to be any more susceptible to Fitch's style than he was the first time.

Perhaps the UFC withholding a title shot from Jon Fitch might be the best thing for him, for now. Fitch might be deserving of a title shot, but if he were to actually get one, that would be somewhat of an "all in" proposition for him. The UFC can't have Fitch lose to GSP again and then just go on picking off welterweight contenders, unless they're willing to give Fitch three title fights.

For now, Jon Fitch is an ace up the UFC's sleeve. He's a very talented fighter, has a 13-1-1 record in the Octagon, and Georges St. Pierre is outclassing established challengers faster than the UFC can separate the wheat from the chaff. Fitch isn't going to be the UFC's first choice, and quite frankly maybe he shouldn't be. But if Fitch decides to take advice on how to get a title shot from Rashad Evans, who has only had three fights in three years (and still isn't getting a title shot), then he could wind up eliminating himself from the discussion altogether.

Reader Question: Who would you like to see Jon Fitch matched up against next? Web visitors, comment below in our new Reader Comment Area (linked to Facebook). App users, send us your thoughts at or visit our desktop website to comment.


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